Thousands march through Dublin for Pride parade 40th anniversary

Thousands march through Dublin for Pride parade 40th anniversary
People on O’Connell Street in Dublin during the Dublin Pride parade (Nick Bradshaw/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Nick Bradshaw

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Dublin for a colourful celebration of the 40th anniversary of the city’s Pride parade.

Young and old lined the streets, some dancing while others waved rainbow flags in the Saturday sunshine, as the parade wound its way from O’Connell Street, along and across the River Liffey and down to Merrion Square in the south of the capital.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was pictured with some of the groups taking part at the start of the march.

The first Pride parade in the city, in June 1983, crossed the city in the other direction, beginning at St Stephen’s Green and ending on O’Connell Street.

Dublin Pride paradeYoung and old lined the streets (Nick Bradshaw/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Nick Bradshaw

This year marks several other anniversaries for Ireland’s LGBT community.

It is 30 years on from the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland and 50 years since the formation of the country’s first group focused on gay and lesbian rights, the Sexual Liberation Movement, in Trinity College.

Trailblazers who formed that first group at Trinity and those who took part in the first Pride parade ten years later were invited to the stage inside Merrion Square Park on Saturday .

They were given a rousing reception by the thousands gathered for the post parade speeches and music.

Long queues of people filtered into the sun-drenched park for more than two hours.

Dublin Pride paradeIt is 30 years on from the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland (Nick Bradshaw/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Nick Bradshaw

Among them was Marlon Jimenez Compton, who is originally from Venezuela but has been living in Dublin for 20 years.

“I usually take this opportunity to try to convey a message of resilience, hope and, most important, love,” he said.

“Because I think it’s important to take the event to convey the message that love is love and that’s my intention as a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself.”

Laura Barrett, 55, took part with her wife Roz Evans.

Ms Barrett, who is originally from Dublin but now lives in Offaly, has mobility issues and Saturday was the first time she was able to join the parade, having recently secured a new scooter that is capable of doing the distance.

Dublin Pride paradeAlan Doherty on O’Connell Street ahead of the parade (Nick Bradshaw/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Nick Bradshaw

“It’s the first time I’ve actually been able to march in Pride because now I have a scooter that does the whole trip,” she said.

“So this is my first time actually taking part in the parade, I’m 55 years of age and it’s taken a while to get here but it’s good to be here.”

Ms Barrett, who is member of the choir Gloria, said the atmosphere was amazing.

“It’s magic, it’s absolutely wonderful and it would be great if it was like this all the time,” she said.

Speakers from a range of community and support groups addressed the crowds.

One of the final speeches was delivered by Sinn Fein’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill.

Dublin Pride paradeResidents in East Lombard Street in Dublin (Nick Bradshaw/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Nick Bradshaw

She paid tribute to the Pride pioneers of 40 years ago but said the journey to equality was not yet complete.

“I think the fact that so many thousands of people have come to walk through the streets of Dublin today is the best testimony to all those brave activists 40 years ago who walked the streets to stand up against hatred and prejudice, and we owe it to them to be here today and to celebrate what we’re doing today,” she said.

“We’re proud that they stood up to be counted and we will be forever grateful for the work that they started and the journey that they started, so let’s salute their bravery today.

“I’m so glad that we’re living in better times, I’m so glad that we’re living in a more modern Ireland, but we certainly have more work to do on this journey.

“We want to deliver a fairer Ireland, an Ireland where we have equality and respect at its heart because we all know that there are still many challenges facing people today.

“Many of our friends are still suffering discrimination, they are suffering bullying and even loneliness.

“So let me say very loudly here from the stage today – homophobia and transphobia have no place in Ireland.”

The Conversation (0)